Tuesday, May 18, 2010

'American Idol 9' - Top 3 performance show recap

It's all on the line as Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze, and Casey James vie for a spot in the American Idol 9 finals. Each will sing two songs, one picked by the judges and the other a personal choice. We'll be live-blogging the performance show starting at 8 p.m. Here we go!

Cold opening. Ryan walks the Adam Lambert Memorial Staircase and stops by each of the Top 3 introducing them by noting their hometowns.  "This is the fight for the finale, and this is American Idol," he proclaims.

Ryan re-descends the ALMS, and tells us this is the week! He asks the audience to shout out the names of who they think it's going to be, and I hear a lot of "Lees." One week from tonight we'll be at the Nokia Theater.

Round One - Contestants' choice

Casey James - "Okay, It's All Right With Me"

Casey's got the acoustic guitar out. He says he chose the song because it sounds like something he would have written himself. It's too wordy and he seems to be rushing through the song. Casey seems a bit stiff. Not the greatest song choice, unfortunately. But in his favor, he seems a lot more relaxed. I think his visit home really energized him.

Randy says that song was just "all right" with him too. He wanted to hear something different. Ellen says, "This is the moment - live or die, sink or swim (or whatever)" She felt the same way as Randy and wishes he had brought it.

Kara says it's hard to pick a song that not everybody knows. She doesn't think this worked in his favor. Simon says this is the most important night of his life. He would compare this song to a salad before dinner. He said it sounded like Casey was busking. "It was a dud song choice, but you sounded good." Casey looks very disappointed.

Crystal Bowersox - "Come to my Window" (Melissa Etheridge)

Perfect song choice for Crystal.She edits it so that she gets the chorus in and gets stronger as the song goes on. But the arrangement is a bit fussy and she nearly drowns in it. The vocals are outstanding, though, as always.

Randy says it's that time in the competition when they're looking for a winner. He says he didn't like the arrangement, but loved her vocal. He thinks she was fighting the arrangement, but she rose above it. Ellen says this is the kind of song Crystal wants to sing. "Melissa would be very proud of you."

Kara thinks Crystal was fighting the arrangement. "It was still a good vocal... I hope you have a moment." Simon says Crystal hasn't compromised herself as an artist and he has a lot of respect for her. He thinks it was an honest performance and that she made the right choice.

Crystal says she felt elated singing the song. She's glad she's got her mike stand and her health, and that her son is healthy!

Lee DeWyze - "Simple Man" (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Lee tells Ryan his trip home was amazing and he wanted to bring that energy back with him. Lee's got the pimp spot, the special lighting, and all the tools to have his "moment." The song is perfect for the moment and he's on top of it. His vocals are a little off, but there's' definitely some magic going on here. This is a song that gets to the root of America and really won them over. This is the performance that will get Lee into the finals.

Randy says this is a brilliant song choice. "Somebody here's feeling like they can win this." Ellen says this shows that Lee takes this seriously. She says he was like a baby lamb and now he's like a "springy carefree..." gazelle or some nonsense.

Kara says what Lee did was what every contestant should do. In her opinion, round one goes to Lee. Simon asks why he picked this song. He says when he plays it, he can really get into it and connect. Simon says that was "absolutely on the money."  He says Lee crushed the other two. Get the crown out now people.

I have to agree with the judges on this one. Round one to Lee.

Round Two - Judges' Choice

Casey - "Daughters" (John Mayer, picked by Kara and Randy)

The judges weigh in on what Casey has to do to stay in the competition. Does it really matter? Nice arrangement - a piano and two guitars. It's real nice, but a but lazy. This was not enough to overcome the obvious love fest going on for Lee, though. Nope. Casey's gone.

Randy says this song fit him like a glove and he hopes Casey will keep on going in this direction. Sounds like a goodbye to me. Ellen likes it a lot. Kara says this showed Casey's more artistic, sensitive side, and thinks he did a good job. Simon says it was a much better choice. He calls the arrangement lazy and wishes Casey could have had a much bigger vocal moment. He argues with Kara about the merits of the song.

I want an iPad.

Crystal - "Maybe I'm Amazed" (Paul McCartney, picked by Ellen)

Ellen says she picked this because she loves the song, and thinks it and Crystal are amazing. Crystal doesn't genderize the words, and that's awkward. She screams, she's pitchy, and it doesn't work at all... Bad, bad, bad choice Ellen.

Randy says, "Great songs, great vocals, and we've got someone who's in it to win it." Ellen likes it. Kara says Crystal showed parts of her voice we haven't heard. She thinks Crystal took a lot of risks. Simon says he was surprised when he heard the song choice, but now he does. He says, after that, Crystal may be thanking Ellen for putting her in the finals. He's lying. Clearly they want Crystal and Lee in the finals. Crystal could have stood there and yodeled, and they would have praised her to the highest heavens.

I miss Big Mike.

Lee - "Hallelujah" - (Leonard Cohen, picked by Simon)

Simon picked the song because it's "Lee's night" and he wants him to have a "moment." Could you be any more blatant, Simon? He's got the full string section and a choir. Should have saved this for the finale, Lee. His vocals aren't great, but who cares. Lee's in the finals.

The audience goes wild. Lee looks like he's about to cry. Randy says he's been waiting the whole season to see who's going to throw down the gauntlet. "Unbelievable, dude." Lee thanks Simon. Ellen says she's glad Lee trusted Simon. "That was stunning." Kara says, "Lee, you are what this show is all about... someone who starts out in one place and ends up somewhere else... you just owned this entire night." Simon says he is very proud of Lee. He thinks Lee proved he's a fantastic singer and a great person.

Dust off the crown, people. Casey's out, and Lee and Crystal are in.

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